Selecting a suitable financial management system.


Usually, when we are engaged by a prospective client to respond to an RFP (Request for Proposal), the main focus is on a specific ERP and how it can address the needs of the business. We are also often asked to explain how we would deliver the solution if we were to be selected as an implementation partner.

However, recently we were asked by a prospect to list the key areas that we thought they should consider in evaluating and selecting a suitable ERP.

Whilst this is a very broad and somewhat difficult question to answer, it is also an interesting question to be asked. By pondering this question, we are put into the position of a prospective client and allowed to process through the thought process that they would go through when making such a commitment.

After some thought, rather than listing specific functional or business areas that they should evaluate, we opted to pose a number of questions that could initiate discussion within their organisation.

  • What are the main drivers for considering the implementation of a new ERP? This is one of the first and most important questions to ask yourself. Out of this can come the key selection criteria and project objectives.
  • What new processes or features are you looking to implement as part of the implementation? Do you have any manual or offline processes that you are looking to either bring into the system or automate?
  • Are you looking to prioritise having a new finance-focussed system that integrates with other industry-focussed operational systems, or are you aiming more for a single ERP that covers most areas of your business? There are pros and cons to both approaches, and the one you choose can depend on who will be using the system. For example, if only a core finance team will be using the system, an argument can be made for bringing as much as possible into the ERP.
  • How many people will be using the new system and what are their roles? What is the mix of direct users of the system versus those who may only need to view reports or perform approval functions? There can be implications for both ease of use and cost of licences.
  • Are you flexible about process change, i.e. is there a willingness to adapt processes in order to take advantage of available functionality? The impact of change on a team cannot be underestimated. It is important to assess how much change you’re willing to take on and where it is required.
  • Can you invest the time and effort required to arrive at a system configuration that meets your needs, or is your preference for a simpler solution that gives you a quick start?
  • Do you have the skills in-house, or are you looking to engage a partner to build any reporting you need on top of what is available out of the box? Reporting is one of the most important aspects of any solution and the effort here doesn’t end when you go live.

Hopefully, the above questions provide the starting point for some of the conversations you need to have when thinking about what you need out of a system and the partner you engage to implement it. Please reach out to us to discuss any of these questions and how they might apply to your organisation.

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